Creating an essential oil blend is one of my favourite activities – both fun and creative. It is, for me, the most enjoyable part of aromatherapy. Whether that is dreaming up a new essential oil blend for the Essence of Wellbeing range, creating a custom blend for one of my valued clients, or just combining essential oils as a one-off for my diffuser, I am constantly inspired to try new combinations.
What goes into creating an Essential Oil Blend?
I was recently asked how I go about creating a new essential oil blend for the Essence of Wellbeing range. What goes into creating an essential oil blend? It is a question that I am often asked in one form or another. Where do you start? How do you approach it? How do you decide which essential oils to put together? Do you blend intuitively? Do you go my smell or by properties? How do you know what blends will work? Is there a “right” way to blend essential oils? Even – which essential oils are you “allowed” to blend together!
The Starting Point in Creating an Essential Oil Blend
There are many different ways to go about blending essential oils. But for me the starting point for any essential oil blend is often inspiration. And inspiration can come from many sources. It may be an idea of the effect I want a blend to have. It may be a mood. Or a type of aroma. I may have a specific health condition in mind (especially for a custom bend). Or I may find myself drawn to a particular oil or oils and use them as my starting point. For some custom creations, I will have “brief” from the client about what they want the blend to do, or be, or smell like, or behave. Detailed briefs can be a joy to read and to use as a basis for a blend, as you are bringing someone’s dream to life in essential oil form!
So every blend starts from a “theoretical” point. That is – an idea. Although I do sometimes blend “on the fly” – adding different oils to see how they work together – mostly there is planning involved. The blend starts on paper – planning out possible essential oil combinations as well as their proportions. From my experience with essential oils I can usually tell to 90+% what a blend will be like, although you can never know 100% until you actually put the essential oils together.
The Importance of Science
My experience includes understanding the science – especially chemistry and botany. Knowing what the chemical makeup of each oil is; or where different essential oils overlap – or share chemical components – and how this will help, or hinder, the way their aromas blend. It is also understanding the effects the essential oils will have on the body, mind and spirit or energy. And then matching the initial inspiration or purpose, with the particular essential oils which are closest to the purpose you are aiming for.
Experience and Instinct
My experience has also taught me which essential oils “play nicely together’. That is those whose aromas marry well and create a harmonious mix. Again this is also influenced by the science. So that the citrus oils will tend to blend well together. They are related. Plus, the fruit oils are not only created by the same method, expression or cold pressing, but contain a lot of the same chemical components, such as limonene. As Petitgrain and Neroli also come from the same family of oils, although not expressed, these will also blend well with the other citrus oils.
So the science forms the basis of a blend. But there is also an element of instinct involved – which can help to decide which of two similar oils should be used, for example. When planning a blend with a particular purpose, there may be a much larger number of essential oils that I could use than I would actually want to incorporate into a blend. Decisions then need to be made as to which of these will be the best to include. This is where experience, instinct and even intuition may come into play. You may feel “drawn” to certain essential oils when considering the purpose of the blend.
Proportions in Creating an Essential Oil Blend
One aspect of blending, once the particular essential oils are chosen is how much of each should be included. Proportions are vitally important. A blend is not simply about taking equal amounts of each essential oil and combining them. Completely different creations can result simply by changing the proportions of each essential oil used.
Again, experience can help to determine the correct proportions for a particular result. And often the first “draft” of a blend is exactly what I am looking for. But equally often the blend may need to be tweaked or adjusted. Adding a little more of this. Or a little less of that. And you have a different blend again!
Essential Oil blends can also change over time. Even a few hours or days can allow the essential oil constituents to settle into one another and mellow the blend even further. So once again some adjustment may be required after this to bring the blend to its final iteration.
Investing Time in Blending
Doesn’t this take a lot of time? Yes it can. But again it varies. If I am just making a simple blend to use today in my diffuser, I can live with the first version and won’t necessarily try to alter it.
But for a blend to make it into the Essence of Wellbeing range, it usually takes a lot longer. It is not just about creating the essential oil blend initially, but then testing it over time and in different ways to make sure it will be consistent in its action and aroma.
I want to make sure that when you take the blend home, you will love using it as much as I did in creating it!